The Sutherland Highlander remembered, May 3-5th 1985
After the superb “Grampian Highlander” RESL tour a few months earlier we all had high hopes for this marathon, but this unfortunately was never a classic, largely average power, very little off train time, no advertised 25’s, late running and umpteen other farces made it memorable for the wrong reasons. Still the 26’s over the Highland main line were excellent and it did generate one of the all time railtour comedy moments at Georgemas Jn!! In retrospect writing this 27 yars later with 17 engines featured and huge mileage perhaps it wasn’t that bad.
Pre tour Moves and gen – May 3rd 1985
81013 0813 Northampton-Euston L.Buzzard-Euston
81022 1005 Euston-Birmingham Euston-New St
47158 1020 York-Penzance Relief
31417 1230 Birmingham-Peterborough
81021 1250 Brighton-Manchester
81022 1218 Birmingham-Euston New St-Euston
85003 1718 Euston-Northampton
81006 1355 Euston-Preston Relief
Good day for the “fish”(class 81’s) men
47623 1445 Padd-Penzance
47509 1450 Padd-Oxford Padd-Reading
33026 1413 Portsmouth-Leeds Reading-Oxford
Booked 33 turn, very enjoyable!
47565 1625 Oxford-Padd
47530 1626 Reading-Liverpool rlf
47611 1356 Liverpool-Portsmouth Oxford-Reading
33208 in 1440 Poole-Liverpool
A “slim” on an inter regional, rare
47567 out 1440 Poole-Liverpool
47589 1809 Padd-Swansea
47512 xxxx Leeds-Brighton
47446 in 1705 Poole-Liverpool
50038 out 1705 Poole-Liverpool
37180 xxxx Cardiff-Padd relief
Sutherland Highlander Tour – May 3rd
37179} 1700 Cardiff-Wick Charter 1Z25 Reading – Acton ML
31116} 1700 Cardiff-Wick Charter 1Z25 Acton ML – Derby (via Luton)
This pair were well recvd by the ped men, quite rare apparently, they were also quite slow as we began to lose time
40122 1700 Cardiff-Wick Charter 1Z25 Derby – Edinburgh (via Sheff, Newcastle)
Sutherland Highlander Tour – May 4th
26041} 1700 Cardiff-Wick Charter 1Z25 Edinburgh – Inverness Rose st
08717 1700 Cardiff-Wick Charter 1Z25 Rose St-Inverness
37183} 1700 Cardiff-Wick Charter 1Z25 Inverness-Georgemas Jn
The tour was advertised at Inverness with “front porton for Thurso”rather than the usual rear portion which we thought was a wind up.
On arrival South of Georgemas jn the train was split with the rear portion being left just outside the station. On realising that boilered ex Stratford
37262 was going to haul our front portion to Thurso one of the most comical Georgemas Jn scenes ever followed. A large number of the rear portions
tour participants bailed onto the ballast. Some tripped over the signal wires, the Georgemas Jn signalman must have been roaring with laughter.
RESL tours and depot visits were notoriously heavily stewarded so to see the RESL big chief in flailing kilt leap from the rear portion was not a graceful scene!!
Eventually and now running hours late we arrived at Thurso behind 37262.
Here a few that had needed some of the very average boilered 37’s on service trains ahead of us were relieved to see us arrive, fearing the tour being
turned round en route to save time
37262 1700 Cardiff-Thurso Charter 1Z25 Georgemas jn-Thurso
37262 1649 Wick/Thurso-Cardiff Charter 1Z25 Thurso-Georgemas Jn
37183} 1649 Wick/Thurso-Cardiff Charter 1Z25 Georgemas jn -Inverness
26041} 1649 Wick/Thurso-Cardiff Charter 1Z25 Inverness-Edinburgh
Our late running hadn’t improved and the after being turned round on arrival at Thurso we were looking forward to an evening break in Inverness.
Unfortunately the late running meant our break was confined to half an hour. A mad dash for food followed and another memorable tour moment was to
follow. On departing Inverness we were quickly halted due to station staff pulling the butterfly. The whole train was to view “the buzzard” chips flying across the
concourse and platform and very red faced join our emergency stopped train! On him regaining his breathe at Schlodt! We asked what he’d have done if he had
missed the train at Inverness. He replied after a long pause in his gentle laid back Cornish lilt, “fast taxi to Aviemore, I suppose”. Legendary!
Much doss followed but Northampton Mick was to advise that the train was very cold at Edinburgh so perhaps the “teacups” went to Haymarket before rejoining
the tour’s Edinburgh-MossEnd leg.
Service trains viewed
47117 0635 Edinburgh-Dundee
47049 1032 Inverness-Aberdeen
47460 1030 Inverness-Edinburgh
37114 1055 Inverness-Kyle
37035 0600 Wick/Thurso-Inverness
37035 1130 Inverness-Wick/Thurso
47460 1030 Euston-Inverness
37025 1730 Inverness-Wick/Thurso
Sutherland Highlander Tour – May 5th
26041} 1649 Wick/Thurso-Cardiff Charter 1Z25 Edinburgh-Moss End
20175} 1649 Wick/Thurso-Cardiff Charter 1Z25 MossEnd-Springburn (via Dumbarton Goods loop)
Believe these were coupled cab to nose in true Scottish tradition. They were rather common ones apparently…We were eventually deposited at Springburn from where
an Eastfield depot visit was planned. This was caped some time before so on being left at Springburn station which was closed and the gate locked was a bit farcical as we were there for
2 hours! Some climbed over the gate for a carry out many photted 37155 which was resident on a ballast train. Eventually 40122 returned with still unwatered stock with bogs
that by comparison made Bulgarian khazis the lap of odour luxury. At Edinburgh the stock was finally watered, almost 48 hours after leaving Cardiff.
40122 1649 Wick/Thurso-Cardiff Charter 1Z25 Springburn-Leicester (via Edin,Newcastle)
31126} 1649 Wick/Thurso-Cardiff Charter 1Z25 Leicester-Bedford
The last farce, the Leicester-Southall was advertised as a pair of 25’s but most aboard were aware that yet more 31’s were allocated and this dull pair produced. We leapt at Bedford
for a fast car home, a marathon over and a memory from Georgemas that will never be forgotten!
Sutherland Highlander Phot Spot
37183 and 37264 at Rogart prior to crossing 37025 on an up Far North service, 040585
Crowd puller!, 37262 reveses the tour portion out of Thurso, service train stock is behind, 040585
As the light fades, the stars of the tour 26041 and 26032 await departure South, 040585
Springburn syphon, we had 2 hours to phot 37155 on a Sunday ballast turn, 050585
The queen of green, 40122 running round at Sheffield as we near home, 050585